The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has shifted the trial of former Aviation Minister Stella Oduah and others on alleged N5 billion fraud to June 5 for arraignment.
The trial, scheduled to commence on Monday, could not go on.
A check at the court showed that the matter was not on the cause list for the day.
Besides, neither the prosecution counsel nor the defence lawyers were in court.
It was gathered that the trial had been fixed for June 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. However, the reason for the adjournment could not be ascertained, though electoral matters had recently dominated matters in the court.
On October 12, 2022, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) approval to prosecute the former minister on allegations bordering on fraud.
Prosecuting counsel Hassan Liman, SAN, had informed Justice Inyang Ekwo at the resumed hearing.
Justice Ekwo had fixed October 12, 2022, for the arraignment of the defendants following a letter from the office of the AGF in response to a petition written by counsel to the eighth defendant in the suit, Oguh Onoja.
On November 22, 2021, Mr Onoja objected to the defendants taking their plea, informing that a petition had already been written to the AGF, complaining that the defendants were just being persecuted as against prosecution.
The development prompted the court to adjourn to await a response from the AGF.
When the matter was called for the defendants to take their plea, counsel to the EFCC, Liman, informed that the AGF had finally responded to the petition and given the nod in a letter for the matter to proceed.
The senior lawyer said up to 32 witnesses had been lined up to testify in the suit.
Lawyers to all the defendants, including Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, who appeared for the senator, acknowledged receipt of the letter from the AGF.
The judge, who ordered an accelerated hearing in the trial, directed all parties to put their house in order.
Justice Ekwo, who said the trial would be on a day-to-day basis, had adjourned until February 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 for a hearing.
Ms Oduah, who currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, was expected to be arraigned by the EFCC on alleged N5 billion fraud and financial misappropriation.
Other defendants in the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020, are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi and Chukwuma Irene Chinyere.
They also include Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and others.
They were charged with conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with a commercial bank.
They will be arraigned on a 25-count charge.